Today I popped a Vicodin, said a prayer, spoke to my mother, kissed my boyfriend, and thanked my bestest best friend for being the bestest friend a best friend could ever have! Needless to say, I'm feeling pretty darn pleased with myself.
Right now this very second, I feel content, happy, and loved; connected, cared for, blessed, and heard. Today when I look at myself in the mirror I see myself clearly. There is no obfuscation, no distraction, and no internal dialogue discouraging me from the truth.
As I string the sequence of the past 10 years together, I can be only proud of what I've achieved and the grace with which I've managed to survive.
Yesterday I had surgery on my bottom (hence the Vicodin). Two months ago I was hospitalized with an infection that almost took me out. Last year I was on a difficult and tedious treatment for hepatitis C. Four years before that I was an intravenous-drug user homelessly roaming the Internet looking for my next fix and the next boy to fix it. And if we jump back a full 10 years, we find a young, skinny, scared, green-eyed black boy going up the stairs to an HIV testing center to get his result.
And when they pulled me into a different room from everyone else's, I knew that my life had suddenly taken a drastically different turn from everyone else's.
My life had instantly become badass!
HIV has shown me the strength of my mettle, the quality of stuff I'm made of, and all the beauty that I possess. And to be honest, I surprised myself! There is no weakness here, there is no "woe is me," and there's no sad story, because in case you didn't notice, I'm a fucking badass!
I don't scare easily. I don't break under pressure. I'm more compassionate than I ever thought I could be. I'm as intimately connected to God as any one person should be. I laugh louder than anyone in the room. I look past the superficial and grasp tightly to the deeper things. I value and respect the relationships that I foster -- and demand that others offer the same. Every single one of my days is owned by me -- and me alone. Love is my only weakness. And even when I'm cut my blood gives me a deadly radio-active superpower. Now, tell me that's not badass!
I was going to write about relationships because I'm dating again, and I'm in that ridiculously silly phase. That phase where the other person is all you can think about, and everything he or she says sounds brilliant, and you just want to share it with the world and make everyone sick with all your gushing and hand-holding and obnoxiously loud kissing. But when I thought about all the stuff I've gone through in the past year -- and the people who have been there for me (and with me) throughout it and how brave, compassionate, and beautiful they were -- I changed my mind. I realized how easy it would have been for them to shut down, break down, and run away. But they didn't. And that's what counts when it counts. So here are my 2 cents: We are badasses, and we should only make room for other badasses! Because everyone else is just a waste of time.
So thank you, Mom; thank you, Javier; and thank you, Michael! I've always known I was a badass -- but thankfully so are you!
Saucier is a writer, blogger, and performance artist based in Los Angeles. Find more of his writing and his photography on his blog page.